Westbury gang case: Arrested cop says he was not on duty on day of shooting

2019-06-24 18:53
Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. (iStock)

Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. (iStock)

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A Sophiatown police officer, who is a co-accused in the murder trial of alleged Westbury gang leader Leroy "Finch" Brown, has told the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court he was not involved in a deadly shooting in 2016.

Warrant Officer Wynand Steyn appeared before Magistrate Botha on Monday for a formal bail application, alongside Brown and another co-accused, Christopher "Pitso" Charles. 

The trio face charges of murder, attempted murder as well as the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

It is alleged that on April 21, Steyn, Brown, Charles and a police reservist stationed at Sophiatown police station were travelling in a marked police vehicle when Brown and Charles jumped out, opened fire and killed Reagan Jacobs at Agatha flats in Newclare.

Two people who were with Jacobs were injured. 

Testifying in court on Monday, investigating officer Warrant Officer Vincent Saunders said witnesses alleged that Steyn was the driver of the police BMW. 

Among the witnesses is one of the victims who survived the shooting. 

Saunders told the court that the victim had pretended to be dead and when Brown and Charles left the scene, he saw the accused enter the marked police vehicle. 

However, Steyn, while applying for bail, informed the court, through an affidavit, that he was not working on the day of incident. He said the BMW was nowhere near Newclare because it had been parked in Alberton on the day. 

"I was not working on April 21, 2016, and I came off duty at 06:00 on April 20, 2016, after working the night shift," Steyn said. 

Saunders told the court while records show that Steyn was indeed not working that day, witnesses have told the State that he was the driver. 

A police reservist's statement was also read out stating that he had not worked with Steyn on the day and was doing a job in Centurion. 

He said he had an invoice as proof that he was elsewhere. 

Steyn further submitted that he had never worked with the reservist because he was of a higher rank, arguing that the witnesses' accounts were false. 

'I do not wish to abandon my trial and live a life of a fugitive'

He pleaded that he be granted bail because he was not a flight risk. 

Steyn said because he faced another trial in the same court, and is out on bail, with strict conditions, he was in no position to abandon the trial and would adhere to conditions given to him. 

"I do not wish to abandon my trial and live a life of a fugitive. I do not have the means, financially, to live the life of a fugitive. I will stand my trial with the view to clear my name." 

He said he was not in possession of a passport and would not flee. 

Steyn added that he would not in any way interfere with witnesses, even if their identities were known to him. 

Brown and Charles were arrested on May 28. Brown is allegedly the leader of the Varados gang, which is apparently at war with the Fast Guns.

Proceedings had to stand down on Monday because Magistrate Basimane Molwana, who is presiding over Brown and Charles' case, had not formally transferred Steyn's matter to a different court for a separate bail application. 

Because Steyn was arrested while his co-accused's bail application was underway, Molwana was supposed to transfer him to another court. 

Molwana explained that because he was presiding over the matter for Steyn's co-accused, the onus lay with him to formally transfer him.

Neither the State nor defence could explain to Molwana how it happened that it was all of a sudden transferred before Botha without Molwana's knowledge. 

The bail applications for all the accused was postponed to Wednesday.

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Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  courts

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